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B&B’s 2012 Summer Recital, Group C
This Sunday, our students took to the stage for B&B’s 2012 summer recital at the Strathmore Mansion. All of the performers had a blast entertaining the crowd with their own renditions of some incredible jazz, pop, and classical numbers. Plus, they got solid experience playing in front of people – and that’s what music’s all about!
“They’re casual, low-pressure events in a fun, friendly atmosphere.”
Well, I guess it’s not all about the performing because music’s also about having fun. From weekly lessons, to personal practice time, to listening to MP3s, students should enjoy the process of learning music. And we treat our recitals the same way. They’re casual, low-pressure events in a fun, friendly atmosphere. After all, performing in front of people is stressful enough on its own!
“…we know that a four-hour recital can be a lot to sit through.”
Music aside, one of my favorite parts about our recitals is that they’re such social functions. I finally get to meet our parents face-to-face. And the students get to hang out with one another and see what their peers are up to. Our busy parents like that we break our recitals into four mini-sets, instead of having one big show. So they can just come for their child’s set. (We love music, but we know that a four-hour recital can be a lot to sit through – especially if you have toddlers in tow.)
Enjoy a few videos of the event below…
If you made it out on Sunday, thanks so much for coming! I hope you had a fantastic time as we did. You can now enjoy a few videos of the event below. Enjoy!
Because music matters,
B&B Music Lessons Co-founder
*Be sure to click the word “playlist” in the bottom left hand corner of the video player below.
Choosing The Right Music Lesson Company in a Tough Economy
Times are tough. The economy’s still sluggish, and summer expenses – camps, vacations, reunions, weddings, etc. – are hitting all of our pockets pretty hard. Looking for ways to cut back, parents often have to prioritize their spending budgets. This isn’t an easy task with our high paced lives.
As we all know, learning music is invaluable, especially for kids. Taking music lessons helps students develop parts of the brain that control language and reasoning, enhance creative thinking, and promote perseverance. Most parents have come to realize that quality music lessons are just something their children can’t live without.
B&B Music Lessons’ s flexible music program may be just the thing for the fiscally prudent parent. Unlike most music programs that require weekly payments whether students receive lessons or not, at B&B, as long as you give 24 hours’ notice, you can skip a lesson and not be charged for it. This can translate to huge savings, especially during the summer when travel plans may interrupt regular sessions. And since our teachers are more than willing to accommodate students’ changing schedules, it’s always easy to stay on track and get the most out of your time with B&B!
So enjoy your summer, and keep practicing — “Because Music Matters”.
Yup, you’ve heard it before. ’Practice makes perfect’!
Persuading even the most promising young musicians to practice can be as elusive as convincing them to eat their Brussels sprouts or make their beds. If your child’s reluctant to pull out his sheet music in the days after class, here are a few tips to get him inspired to rehearse.
-Choose instruments wisely. Children are urged to pick their own ice cream flavors, tennis shoes, and lunch boxes; but when it comes to music lessons, parents usually call all the shots. Parents should pick instruments that their kids are interested in, so they’ll be more excited about playing. Can’t decide between the obo and the clarinet? Why not take a couple lessons of both, and then decide.
-Listen to music. It’s easy for children to get discouraged when they’re sitting alone struggling through Chopsticks for hours on end. So, expose your kids to live music, especially that featuring the instruments they play, so they can see firsthand how all of their practice can pay off. And if it’s too tough to catch a jazz show or sit in on the high school marching band’s afterschool practice, find some good CDs of different styles of music – pop, jazz, classical, blues – and listen with your kids while you’re riding in the car or eating dinner. It’s a great way for kids to get ideas about pieces they’d like to try.
-Keep it short and sweet. Experts agree that short daily practices trump longer, less frequent ones. The more often kids practice, the more they improve their muscle memories, and shorter sessions make them less likely to get burnt out before practice is over.
-Use appropriate rewards. After he masters a particularly difficult selection, give your budding virtuoso a special treat that will reinforce his enthusiasm about his music. Take him to a special performance, buy him a new CD of a talented musician who plays his instrument, or let him pick out a piece of new sheet music. You just want to steer clear of rewarding him with playtime outside or points on a chore chart – compensation that makes practice feel more like a burden than a pleasurable pastime.
Almost everyone knows the classical music of Beethoven. Mozart, and Tchaikovsky, And world renowned modern and contemporary artists like the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Lily Wayne, 50 Cent etc. to name only a few musicians who have gained worldwide fame, and whose music has already become “classics”.
Every country has produced its own musicians, who have achieved a level of professionalism that has propelled them to fame, either in their own country or as international stars. They, in their own unique and individual styles, have taken the music industry to new levels.
One quality that famous musicians have is a passion for both composing and performing music. To them, music is not just a career; it Is their life and passion. . but it more than just a “job” and a paycheck and “food on the table”: it’s their passion. And they want to be the best.
Famous musicians are the world’s “communicators”. Music is a universal language. It communicate emotions, and create feelings without the need for words — it’s all in the music. And people can enjoy a song even if the words are in a different language. The Sound of Music is a universal language.
There is nothing more exciting than seeing great musicians – individual performers or a band or orchestra — playing live on stage. Then, music becomes a performance, where the audience can participate: they can sing along, dance to the music or just listen in one great communal experience. A live performance connects and interacts with its audience that a mere “recording” cannot do.
Good musicians are well organized. They are disciplined and prepared when it comes time to perform. Music is a business as well as an art; despite what the tabloids say, tardiness, and irresponsibility is not part of a great musician and performer’s values or vocabulary. Performance and recording schedules are tight, and often erratic. They must always meet their deadline and their obligations. They must find the time, and have the discipline to rehearse whenever necessary to take their performance one step higher for each gig.
How did they achieve that pinnacle of fame and become musical legends?
It’s not just talent, but also discipline, hard work and exceptional communication skills. Their aim is to deliver a unique and very personal message to their fans. They must not just perform, but must interact with their audience, through the music, the performance, and their personality. A performer needs to have a unique sense of showmanship, but also must keep their egos in check. Great musicians perform at the highest level every time and always give an audience their money’s worth.
Great musicians do not live in a vacuum. Everyone can learn and be inspired by another’s work, and knowing what their fans want and need, and also what’s going on in the music world, keeps them at the top of their profession. But too much egotism and arrogance alienates audiences and fellow musicians as well. To stay on top, be “on top of your game”. Audience expect t get their moneys worth perfection. Famous musicians play well with others. You should perform and expect the highest quality, but you should also be able to adapt to suit the needs and abilities of your musicians.
In a live concert, preparation is essential. Know the acoustics qualities of the venue you are performing in. If you are playing outdoors in a park or stadium, or inside a concert hall, you need to tailor your performance and the acoustics of you instruments. You audience will not enjoy a performance where they cannot hear the music, or if the music is so loud it is painful to the ears. Make sure the volume on your instruments, especially a guitar or piano is at the required level that will support, but not drown out the vocals and other instruments. A balance between all elements of the performance including vocals is necessary. You can achieve this if you are well prepared. Good preparation will see you blend your sound in the best way. Ensure you have the right kind of instruments for the music to be played for a gig. Always remember–know your audience.
Music is powerful. Since its beginnings music has been used in communication, healing, and to motivate and inspire, but mostly for enjoyment and relaxation. The element of music, rhythm and tempo, are experienced even before birth. The first sound an infant is aware of is the rhythm and tempo of their mother’s heartbeat. Rhythm and tempo are the soul of music in all it forms. After birth, young children are calmed and soothed by lullabies and simple tunes and songs.
Music, either “natural” or “composed” is all around us. . Birds are natural producers of music, using “songs” as a way of communicating. Even the sounds you hear in your daily chores have a musical pitch and rhythm, the pitch and tempo of a car’s engine, or the rhythmic clicking on a typewriter. Music has been used in different occasions to express and enhance emotion. When used in weddings, it indicates joy and happiness; at funerals, sorrow and remembrance. In movies, stage productions and operas, music enhances the varied emotions expressed by the performers. The sound track of a movie enhances the action. The sound track of a war movie emphasizes and accelerates the sense of fear and danger, while in romantic movies music accentuates the deep emotions of love. Music is an integral part of health and therapy, and also a form of relaxation. The connection between music, and our minds and emotions, supports and improves the mental and physical health of human beings.
Music education allows us to develop skills that create those deep emotions. Music education teaches creativity, teamwork, self-esteem, communication, discipline, and basic study skills. Further study improves the quality and effect of the product. Music education is especially valuable for children. Children enjoy music and interactive play. Musical lullabies are the first music they hear. Music education — the study of musical forms, of harmony, pitch and tempo; the experience of playing in a band or singing in a chorus has a number of benefits; learning the disciplines of concentration and teamwork, the need for preparation, rehearsal and practice, are skills that can be used in all aspects of life.
Music is an art form. Music Education provides understanding of the principles and disciplines that are required in any art form. It develops creative thinking skills, allows risk taking, and requires teamwork, problem solving, and communication skills. When children play together, they often sing together, or in turns. Some naturally create their own compositions. These are skills that widen their intellect and perceptions; thinking in broad not narrow perspectives so that they come up with musical compositions that are appealing to all types of people in all types of cultures. Music Education is one answer to the challenge of how to bring people together, not set them apart. Music is part of all cultures, and is why music education is crucial. Cultures use music to communicate and share its ideas and values from one generation to another and one culture to another. It teaches them values; it teaches them to be productive members of society; and it develops compassion and empathy for others.
Music education is one of the most noble, and enjoyable professions to undertake. Music education has universal economic value, it creates jobs, and the result is shared between nations and cultures to promote peace and goodwill.
The benefits of music on the minds of young children have been well documented. However, it is worth revisiting this idea from time to time. As you consider whether to enroll your child in a private music lesson program in the DC area (such as B&B Music Lessons), here are a few things to keep in mind.
Over ten years ago, researchers at the University of Wisconsin discovered that by simply listening to Mozart triggered a temporary increase in spatial intelligence. This so called “Mozart Effect” has proven difficult to replicate, but the idea that music lessons can raise IQ has taken hold of the scientific community. Yet despite any scientific research, it is safe to say that music and music lessons have a positive effect on children. Here are a few of the benefits:
- Developing Intelligence: Without joining the ongoing debate, there are vast amounts of data supporting the long established anecdotal knowledge that music education makes children smarter. For instance, a study of 237 second grade children scored 27% higher on math tests after starting private piano lessons.
- Success in Life: We all want our children to achieve success in life, including social structures, school and employment. Participation in music brings numerous benefits to each of these areas. The language of music can be shared and understood by any culture or race. The ability to connect with oneself and others is greatly enhanced through music. Qualities such as “flexible”, “listener”, “team builder” are common adjectives used in job postings, all of which are attributes that are strengthened by music practice and music lessons. Some of the best instruments to get started with for music lessons are guitar and piano due to their popularity and ease of use.
There is much discussion regarding the best instrument to start a younger child with. The piano is a great place for younger students to start due to its simplicity and clarity. String instruments such as the guitar, bass and violin are a bit more difficult but are also excellent ways to learn the fundamentals of music. Keeping an emphasis on ‘fun’ is important for the teacher as it engages the music student, who is then more likely to practice their instrument. Whatever you do, be sure to support your child’s interest in music. The investment is in their future.
Purchasing a guitar for a young child is a wonderful investment to make. Of course, we need to spend our hard-earned money wisely, so it’s good to learn a bit about guitars before making your purchase.
When buying for a child, it’s most sensible to get something that gives the student an adequate instrument for the first several years of his/her study, while not breaking the bank.
There are three types of guitars to choose from. Electric, steel string acoustic, and nylon string acoustic. Electric guitars have the lightest strings of the three types, although nylon strings are soft and therefore also easy on the fingers. Steel strings are, well, steel. They can take some getting used to for beginners until calluses are developed.
Nylon strings are easier on the fingers, but they also have a softer sound. Classical, Spanish, and Bossa Nova generally use nylon string guitars. The strings are set apart further than steel string guitars to accommodate the use of finger picking (fingers naturally need more space than guitar picks).
Steel strings are brighter in sound but closer together on the fingerboard. Smaller hands might appreciate the thinner neck, but closer strings require additional accuracy with the picking hand.
Each type of guitar can be used to play most styles of music, but they do have distinctively different sounds. Since the idea is to find the best instrument for the student, it’s good for students to listen to both types of instruments before a purchase.
Here are two videos to show the different types of guitar in action. The first video features two guitarists playing the same guitar. Mozart deserves two guitar players, right???
Here is a video of Eric Clapton playing a blues on an acoustic guitar. Enjoy!
There has been much discussion regarding Suzuki method vs. more traditional methods of teaching. It is helpful to know a bit more about it before requesting a Suzuki method teacher.
Suzuki takes an approach that is similar to a child learning a new language. Children learn to speak by listening, not by reading. Similarly, the Suzuki method teaches children to play their instrument without the use of written music. Instead, they focus on using their ears to learn specific pieces of music which are prerecorded to accompany the student. Memorization of each piece of music is eventually attained, with the goal of performing the piece. Performances are frequent and become natural and enjoyable over time.
More traditional methods introduce sight reading, scales, key signatures, sharps and flats, and other theory right away. These are necessary components of a well-rounded musician. Therefore, the combination of traditional and Suzuki methods is common, and many versions of Suzuki methods have added sight reading and theory to their programs.
Suzuki method is very popular and it is a great way for younger students to gain confidence and ear training early on. The added confidence provided by frequent performances also helps. But the primary consideration is to find the best teacher for your child. With a good teacher, the music should lead the way. It is first about the music, and then persistence. Suzuki is more about the teacher using Suzuki than anything else. Find a teacher who connects well with the student and you have a recipe for greatness.
If you’d like to discuss the possibility of working with a private music teacher in the DC area, contact us at anytime and we’ll be happy to help you.
“Because Music Matters”!
One important factor to keep in mind while practicing a musical instrument is that consistency and accuracy are the most important points to focus on. This applies to drums, guitar, bass, piano and all other instruments.
Lets say that you can play a piece perfectly 9 out of 10 times. So you’re feeling pretty good about that, right? Well, imagine if you have a 5 piece band and everyone plays the piece 90% correct. Well, the percentage of overall accuracy just went down substantially. Or if you imagine that each person in a big band or symphony plays his or her piece correctly 90% of the time. Now the overall percentage drops dramatically!
Therefore, it is best that you can play your required piece closer to 98% or 99% correctly on a regular basis. The main thing here is that you focus your attention while practicing so that you get the most out of your practice time because the standard for performing in a group is pretty high!
Keep practicing… “Because Music Matters”!
Wow! What can I say… I am speechless. Look at how amazing these young music students are from PS22 in New York City. I am so inspired by these video clips that I couldn’t resist sharing them with you all. The excitement is written all over these kid’s faces and they will always remember these early experiences for the rest of their lives. I too, was lucky enough to have an awesome music teacher who inspired me and believed in my ability. Music teachers have a way to transform young lives, and thus the world, into a more beautiful place. Check it out:
Help us share the joy in these videos by clicking on the Facebook “share” icons at the bottom of this post which will post the link to your FB profile. These videos always bring a smile to my face and I want as many people as possible to have the same experience I did.